The Israelites messed up. Again.
And as they find themselves on the doorstep of exile into Babylon as a result of their continued twin sins of idolatry and injustice, God comes to them through the prophet Jeremiah and says….
“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7
This is striking for several reasons. First of all, the Israelites were headed into Babylon, the most pagan, hedonistic, immoral culture most of them had ever seen. Seek the good of that city?? But it’s also striking that God connects the welfare of the people to the welfare of the community in which they will live. “If it prospers, you too will prosper…”
God says (Matt’s translation), ‘Be good citizens, actually great citizens….. because it’s the right thing to do, and also because if the nation you are living in thrives, then you will be blessed.’
What does it look like to engage with politics and government from a Christian perspective? Some of us, in view of all the conflict and dysfunction, would like to withdraw from society altogether (like the Essenes movement in the first century). Others of us don’t want to proverbially hide under a rock; instead, we’d like to throw rocks! Lots of them… at all the ways our country and its leaders do not reflect the character and justice of God.
God’s words to His people in Jeremiah 29 are so instructive for us. God desires that we, in whatever city and/or country we find ourselves, seek the good of that place. Not because our hope is in a nation or political party (our hope is in Jesus), but because being the people of God means that we love our communities well and aspire to see them prosper.
One of the ways we do this is through voting for elected leaders. And tomorrow, all of us have an opportunity to do just that. I want to encourage you to vote tomorrow and to do so through a Jesus-shaped lens. The great challenge (and invitation) for Christians is to put our biblical filter in front of our political filter when it comes to how we think about and engage with politics and government.
Let’s remember that first and foremost, our citizenship is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20), and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
P.S. Next week, GFC is hosting a conversation on this subject titled Coffee and Culture: Jesus and Politics. Hope that you will join us! Find out more and sign up to attend here.